Published on January 22nd, 2013 | by DanNation0
Castro’s Twin Peaks Bar Gets Landmark Status
The San Francisco Castro’s Twin Peaks Tavern, affectionately known locally as “The Glass Coffin,” has gained landmark status by the city’s Board of Supervisors:
Twin Peaks Tavern, which first opened in 1935 but was purchased by Cunha and Forster in 1971, is believed to be the first gay bar in the nation to feature full-length, open plate glass windows that let its patrons look out, and more importantly, the public look in. The lesbian friends, known to most regulars as “the girls,” opened the bar to the world at a time when many gays still feared losing their jobs or being socially ostracized if their sexual orientation was revealed. It has now survived for 40 years as one of the Castro district’s most memorable and welcoming establishments.
Last week, the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to give it landmark status. It is one of just two bars in San Francisco with such a designation: The Bayview’s Sam Jordan‘s bar, named for its founder – the first African American man to run for city mayor – was also given landmark status last week. Twin Peaks is now owned by two men who worked for Cunha and Forster for years as bartenders and bought the tavern from them in 2003; Sam Jordan’s is run by his children.
Twin Peaks, located across the street from the Castro Muni Station, is often the first thing people see when they arrive in the neighborhood. Housed in a building first constructed in the 1880s, it has early 20th century features, including a 1923 Mediterranean revival-style façade. Inside, there is a partial mezzanine; a wooden, U-shaped bar; and a pre-Prohibition mirrored backbar.
“It has served as a gateway to the Castro since it emerged as a gay neighborhood, and as a symbol of openness and public welcome that that neighborhood offers,” said Gerard Koskovich, a curator at the nearby GLBT History Museum. “It’s not merely a symbol of openness – it is an example of openness. … It is absolutely living history.”
Congratulations to an institution that marks the gateway to the Castro District!
Read more at SFGate